Thomas Jay Brantner (1948 - 2018)

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Thomas Jay Brantner died in the early morning hours of Sunday, January 7, 2018, at his home in Lake Stevens. He was 69.
Tom was born in Ketchikan, Alaska. His family soon moved to Juneau and then to Seattle. He graduated from Roosevelt High School with the class of 1966. He was a successful athlete and had a love for skiing, deep water diving, and camping. He worked at the Seattle Parks & Recreation Department for many years as a swimming teacher and senior lifeguard.

On April 22nd 1972, Tom had a highway accident near his beloved ski lodge in Alta, Utah, suffering a spinal cord injury. He was a quadriplegic for the remainder of his life. He met this challenge with humor, grace, and fierce independence. He never let hardship define him and conducted his life from the seat of his wheelchair.

After extensive rehab, Tom was able to work for Group Health, a job he adored. He always spoke with admiration and pride about the wonderful doctors and nurses he worked with. These Group Health years were the best of his life. He lived independently, was married briefly, and in 1987 met his life partner, Kathryn Ulrich. Fatherhood was a natural gift and he helped raise his two stepchildren with patience and loving guidance.

Tom Brantner was predeceased by his father, John Brantner, his sister, Betty Johanna, and sister-in-law Nena Brantner. He is survived by his great love and partner, Kathryn; their two children Doug and Rebecca Ulrich; his mother, Ruby Brantner; his brother Steve (Marijo) Brantner, his niece Maren Brantner, his nephew John Brantner; and, extended family and friends scattered across the US and Canada.

Through the years, as Tom's health deteriorated, he was cared for by many fine medical professionals, in particular: John Crocker, MD, and Steven Burrows, MD, of Group Health; the dedicated nurses at Kaiser Eastside Home Health; the nurses at Providence Hospice; and the EMTs of the Lake Stevens Fire Department.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, February 17, from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM, at the Wild About Cars Garage Venue, 11200 Kirkland Way, Kirkland, WA 98033. Donations may be made to the Lake Stevens Fire Department; Providence Hospice and Home Care of Everett, or the Snohomish County Animal Shelter.
Published in The Juneau Empire from Feb. 11 to Mar. 10, 2018